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CVS has reportedly fired two employees after a video depicting one of them making a 911 call after a coupon-related dispute with a black woman went viral.
The customer, one Camilla Hudson, posted the video on her Facebook on Saturday. She had reportedly shared the video earlier, which Facebook had taken down as it violated their policies, she wrote in her post.
Another employee allegedly challenged Hudson when she tried to use a coupon for a complimentary item, she told The Associated Press, claiming the employee was hostile towards her.
CVS has fired both the employees involved, USA Today reported Monday morning.
Hudson had initially tried to use the self-checkout machine, but it was not equipped to read the coupon, she told Block Club Chicago, a non-profit hyperlocal news site in Chicago. The manager, who identifies himself as Morry Matson in the video, reportedly offered to help her.
Things escalated when he called the other manager for help, who accused Hudson of handwriting the coupon, Block Club Chicago reported. Hudson identified him as “Brandon” in her Facebook post, although this information has not been verified by other news reports.
Hudson stood her ground, she told Block Club Chicago, and insisted they call the corporate office to verify her coupon. She wrote on Facebook that she followed Brandon around the store before pulling out her phone to record their interaction, at which point he stopped responding and went into a backroom and “slammed the door.”
Matson then appeared and threatened to call the police on her if she didn’t leave.
“Of course, I had ZERO concerns about the police being called,” wrote Hudson on Facebook. “Apparently, they’d hung up on him the first time he called, so he had to call them back a second time, telling the 911 dispatcher that I was harassing them (which I have on video).”
In the video, Matson is seen shaking as he speaks on the phone.
When he identifies her “African-American,” the woman from behind the camera says, “Black. No I’m not African American, I’m black. Black isn’t a bad word.”
Chicago police responded to an “assault in progress” on Friday evening at the address of the CVS store, according to Block Club Chicago, which also reported that no police report has been filed. Hudson said the officers were polite but asked her to leave and told her that the managers had grounds to ask her to leave.
“After some conversation and documenting their names, badge numbers, etc., I eventually left the store,” she wrote on Facebook.
CVS has since apologized for their manager’s behavior, according to AP and CNN. The company told AP that they don't tolerate such discrimination against customers and they are investigating the incident.
This is not the first time CVS has faced accusations of racial profiling. In 2016, a CVS “store detective” said in a lawsuit that his supervisor specifically instructed him to target latino and black customers, and racial slurs — including the n-word — were frequently used in the workplace, according to the New York Daily News. A 2015 lawsuit filed by other CVS employees made similar claims, and said they faced increased scrutiny in the workplace when they complained about racial discrimination, according to ABC News.
Matson has been identified by AP as a candidate for Chicago City Council. He is reportedly the state president of Log Cabin Republicans, an organization rallying for conservative LGBTQ communities. Matson has previously been accused of forging signatures on a petition for a bike path in Chicago, according to The Root. While running the petition, he also reportedly told his neighbors not to be concerned about an influx of “people from the South Side,” according to a 2016 DNA Info report. Chicago's South Side is often associated largely with its African American community.
Hudson's video had more than 230,000 views as of Monday morning. She says the fight is not over. "Life in these United States. Aargh,” she wrote on Facebook.
[Photo: Screenshot from Facebook]